This is a meme for all you ‘page surfers’ out there!
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“They weren’t that close. That was what I thought. So it confused me at first, when James’ behaviour became increasingly erratic. Isa was Katie’s friend. Her best friend. And that was the direction I had looked once the initial shock had died down and I’d had time to absorb it all.
In the days after Isa’s death, what with the chaos and the shock, things had fallen apart a little. We had all retreated to our own separate cocoons of grief, no one watching out for anyone else, because the horror of it all was too much. The daze of grief stops the world for a while, but at some point, you look up again and see what’s been happening while you were lost in the fog of it all. And when I came to, there was Katie, looking so pale and skinny and far too quiet.
‘You need to eat something, Katie,’ I had told her. ‘You need to take care of yourself.’
And she had looked at me as if she didn’t recognize me for an instant, as if my presence there in the room, my sudden attention, my revived mothering instinct, was something unwanted and unexpected.
‘I’m fine,’ was all she said in reply.
I had stroked her hair and looked her in the eye, held her gaze for a moment and then shook my head.
‘No, you’re not fine, Katie. You look tired and sad.’
‘Well, I am. Aren’t you?’
‘Yes, of course I am. We all are. But I’m also your mother and I need to look out for you and make sure you’re okay.’
‘Oh yeah? The way you looked out for Isa you mean?’
And it caused me to draw breath. The idea that Katie thought of me that way. As someone negligent. As somehow responsible for what happened. I thought all that had been settled. I thought the guilt had dissipated.
If you still need to know more, check out those all important opening lines at:-
Just to help you get those words into some context – check out the premise below.
‘SOMEONE ELSE’S DAUGHTER‘ by JENNIFER HARVEY
They’d left their daughter with us, their only child, and we hadn’t protected her. That was all they would see when they looked at us—that we had failed them.
I count down the days until we can leave the city behind and return to the beach house. Where James and Katie can roam free over the dunes, like they did as children, and Peter will swap his 6 a.m. starts for the stacks of fluffy pancakes he lovingly serves up for our family breakfasts. These sun-drenched, golden days, just the four of us, are what I hold on to all year long.
But this summer Katie’s best friend will be coming with us. I tell myself the girls will have fun together, pushing aside the doubts I have about this uninvited guest. Isa. With her corn-silk hair and luminous skin, who manages to overshadow my daughter at every turn. Who has been dumped on us by her own parents, too caught up in their petty dramas to see what is right in front of them.
Because I can see it. There is something dangerous about Isa. Something more than a carefree girl, testing boundaries as she approaches adulthood. She threatens to cast storm clouds across my beach house days. I feel as powerless to stop her as I would in the face of a hurricane.
By the end of the summer, Isa will be dead. And I will have to face her mother. I don’t know if I will be able to find the words. How can I begin to explain that she never really knew her daughter at all?
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Ambrosia at:-
Each week she shares her own teaser lines and invites other bloggers to do the same.
So if you have a few moments, why not stop by and see what’s on offer this time, after all, you never know where that next great read is going to come from!
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